The Helicarrier is a beautiful dream, but it’s also a physical impracticality. Telling that to DARPA, though, is just asking them to throw millions of dollars at the idea and build it not for humans, but for robots. Which is more or less exactly what they’re doing.
Essentially, DARPA wants a flying delivery platform for drones. Or, as they put it:
…larger aircraft would carry, launch and recover multiple small UAS. Such an approach could greatly extend the range of UAS operations, enhance overall safety, and cost-effectively enable groundbreaking capabilities for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other missions.
Their example isn’t a helicarrier, but rather a modified C-130 aircraft, but come on. We all know what DARPA really wants to do. These are the guys building Transformers and had Google take their Terminators away from them. They’re probably building a helicarrier as we speak.
And, actually, it might work, at least in small scale. Some RC enthusiasts recently built a helicarrier that could launch a small plane. Here it is in action:
So the concept itself can work… it’s really just a question of whether we can get it up to military standards. And put Iron Man on it.